12 June 2013

REVIEW: Prodigy & Alchemist: Albert Einstein

It's been half a decade since we've heard a full length Prodigy and Alchemist project. Return of the Mac was a very slept on album in 07, easily one of my top 10 albums of that year. But both have been busy since then. Alchemist dropped collab albums with Curren$y and Action Bronson as well as his own albums Chemical Warfare and Russian Roulette. Prodigy left G-Unit, went to jail, dropped a few albums and even wrote a book: My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy. Thankfully both were able to re-link and give us another solid album, Albert Einstein.

Since his recent jail stint, Mobb Deep have appeared to be on the outs. Of course this is only our perception from the outside looking in (but direct dis Tweets and awkward images of them together seemed to be a clear sign of the duo caught in a rift). Both emcees have said that they're cool and if anything it was just some drama between brothers. If you listen to Hip-hop though, it seems the only way to have their friendship verified would be to have them do a track together. Enter R.I.P. It's been 20 years since Mobb Deep dropped Juvenile Hell, and we can hear that their styles have aged well. Alchemist delivers a classic Mobb Deep sound that we have come accustom to. Prodigy and Havoc dropped bars claiming their validation as rap legends and solidify the group as one that will be here another 20 years. And how would you wrap this up? Easy, bring in the ever busy Raekwon and give us another street odyssey.

Dough Pildin has been on the airwaves for a few weeks to set this album up. Not much to say here. Both Alchemist and Prodigy brought their A games to the table. The beat allows the chorus to be unobtrusive and drops hints of different instruments throughout. Prodigy uses this instrumental to, "Rap circle around [dudes]". Prodigy hasn't change his flow or cadence much in the last few decades, instead the content has evolved through his trials (pun intended) and tribulations.

Bible Paper is a track with many progressions with the Alchemist lending a few bars to his instrumental. This has become a rare occurrence in recent years, but Alchemist did his thing. A little over halfway through the track the beat switches up from an ominous melodic instrumental to a more complex arrangement. Prodigy flips his rhythm to compensate the change in beats just as he has been for so many years on an ALC track.

An up and coming emcee is featured on The One. Prodigy recruits the talents of Action Bronson for this track. It seems only right since Prodigy came through for a Queens collab on Saaab Stories. Prodigy further adds to his lyrical prowess as he claims, "I am more than a Hip-hop legend, I'm iconic/ My 16s strong as fuck, I'm bionic." Action Bronson is able to keep up lyrically, while making strong statements in his early career, "I felt certain I was born to be the best Earthing." Action Bronson's old school flow is a perfect pairing to an emcee whole actually came up from that golden era.

Alchemist and Prodigy have mastered their sound. It is as if they both continue to challenge each other with crazy new beats or solid flows and metaphors. Both are forever influenced by the old-school Hip-hop flavor but are able to maintain relevant through their hard work and dedication to the culture. Prodigy has found a way to present his life stories for such a long time that one wonders how it this even unique. The answer is that while his sound and flow stay the same, it is his life experiences that have evolved. Young rappers now a days rap about guns, drugs and women too, but you can hear the inexperience and immaturity in their bars. Prodigy is a grown ass man and is able to incorporate similar stories with different perspectives and personal insight. From a production standpoint the Alchemist is able to show growth but still making sure his beats are unequivocally an ALC track. When it comes to producer/emcee combos, you would have to put them among the best.

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